Investigation of the coping abilities of families of head-injured persons
Resnick, Cheryl Denise
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This study attempts to ascertain what factors assist families of head injured persons in coping. The study investigates professional interventions provided to families, during the hospitalization of the patient in the intensive care unit.;It was hypothesized that families receiving early interventions (support, information, and liaison services) would cope better.;A retrospective survey was conducted in which 156 responses were received and the mean number of years from the trauma to the survey response, was eight. Coping was measured through family/marital, health, and employment stability.;Although there were no significant correlations between early interventions and family coping, there were significant changes from before to after the occurrence of head injury in family/marital, and health stability. Family/marital changes included: increased family arguments, unclear family roles, financial problems, and increased family restrictions. Health changes included: increased use of substances, increased hospitalizations for family members, and an increase in respondents' suicidal thoughts.;Respondents' open ended answers were revealing and disturbing. There was an enormous need for support, information, and assistance expressed. Numerous respondents indicated that education and preparation would have been of tremendous value to them. Dealing with the chronic nature of head injury and the current fragmentation of services, depletes family coping reserves as consecutive obstacles arise. The author recommends that the system's current lack of coordination of services can be best remedied by the implementation of a case management system. A mandated reporting process, would initiate case management services during the acute medical hospitalization. The case manager, knowledgeable in head injury, would coordinate follow-up care and continue to ensure service delivery.;In addition, respondents' answers pointed to current program deficiencies. Social, recreational, vocational, educational, and long term housing needs for brain injured persons have not been met and families are beset by serious financial/insurance impediments. The current deficits and fragmentation of services impedes family adaptation to traumatic brain injury.